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Investment in farm infrastructure mandatory for 100% FDI in food processing

Foreign players looking to invest in the food processing sector will have to mandatorily invest a portion of the funds in building infrastructure at the farm gate level for the benefit of farmers, Food Processing Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal has said.

Harsimrat Kaur Badal-AVBadal said she is pushing for 100% FDI in the food processing sector with a purpose to raise farmers’ income.

“My intention behind proposing this policy was to create ‘swadeshi’ (local) infrastructure at the farm gate level with ‘videshi’ money (foreign investment),” Badal said.

The policy was announced to address the requirements of farmers and food processing industry as lots of fruits and vegetables grown by farmers either do not fetch the right prices or fail to reach the market, she said.

“I feel there should be a rider in the policy to ensure that a certain percentage of FDI inflows is invested on infrastructure at the farm level, directly benefiting the farmers,” she said.

The investment could be on mechanised farming, latest irrigation technologies, seeds, among others, Badal said adding better quality of farm produce is good for processing.

Badal also said the FDI inflow in food processing sector is expected to cross $1 billion in the next two years, helped by reforms in FDI space and streamlining other regulations.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in Budget 2016-17 had announced 100% FDI in food processing on the food which is produced and processed in India.

The food processing sector attracted FDIs worth $463 million during the April-February period of the last fiscal.

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